I Can't Get Next to You

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"I Can't Get Next to You"
Single by The Temptations
from the album Puzzle People
B-side "Running Away (Ain't Gonna Help You)"
Released July 30, 1969
Format 7" single
Recorded Hitsville USA (Studio A); June 23, June 24, June 27, June 30, July 2, and July 3, 1969
Genre Funk, psychedelic soul
Length 2:51
Label Gordy
G 7093
Writer(s) Norman Whitfield
Barrett Strong

Norman Whitfield

Platinum (RIAA)
The Temptations singles chronology
"Don't Let the Joneses Get You Down"
"I Can't Get Next to You"
"The Weight"
"I Can't Get Next to You"
Single by Al Green
from the album Al Green Gets Next to You
Released 1970
Format 7" single
Recorded Memphis, Tennessee; 1970
Genre Soul
Length 3:48
Label Hi
Writer(s) Norman Whitfield
Barrett Strong
Producer(s) Willie Mitchell
Al Green singles chronology
"Right Now, Right Now"
"I Can't Get Next to You"
"Driving Wheel"

"I Can't Get Next to You" is a 1969 number-one single recorded by The Temptations and written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Gordy (Motown) label. The song was the number-one single on the Billboard Top Pop Singles chart for two weeks in 1969, from October 11 to October 25, replacing "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies and replaced by "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley. The single was also a number-one hit on the Billboard Top R&B Singles for five weeks,[1] from October 4 to November 1, replacing "Oh, What a Night" by The Dells, and replaced by another Motown song, "Baby I'm For Real" by The Originals.

The single was the second of the Temptations' four number-one hits on the United States pop charts, and was also one of the best-selling singles the group released. Billboard ranked it as the No. 3 song for 1969.[2]

ABC, a song released in the following year by fellow Motown act The Jackson Five, uses the same bridge section, featuring identifiable use of the stated "ya!" as well as the percussion.


"I Can't Get Next to You" was the second single from the 1969 Temptations LP Puzzle People, with "Running Away (Ain't Gonna Help You)", a ballad led by Paul Williams, as the b-side. The single was a number-one hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Billboard Top R&B Singles charts. The song has been frequently covered, with the most notable cover being a 1970 version by Al Green, which strips the composition of its fast pace and multi-lead vocals, and instead renders it as a slow-burning plea for love. Green's cover, the title track of his 1971 LP Al Green Gets Next to You, reached number sixty on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, and number eleven on the R&B chart.



In 1970, The Osmonds (with newly added youngest brother Donny) covered the song on their eponymous MGM debut album as the finale of a medley of Motown hits. They later released a full version of the song on their 1974 album, Love Me for a Reason.

In September 1971 the British group Savoy Brown included a much slower and bluesier version in their album Street Corner Talking which was based on the Al Green version that came out a month before on his album Al Green Gets Next to You.

In 1976, The Jess Roden Band included a version on their album Play It Dirty, Play It Class.

In 1993, the Brazilian blues band Big Allanbik, covered this song on their first release "Blues Special Reserve", with a tinged Savoy Brown influence.

In 1995, Annie Lennox covered the song on her Medusa album, with a slight lyrical alteration to reflect her gender.

In 2000, Westlife used the song for the medley part of their Where the Dreams Come True Tour.

In 2002, Toto covered the song on their album Through the Looking Glass.

In 2006, San Francisco band Thee More Shallows covered the song on their EP Monkey vs. Shark.

In 2008, Lil Wayne sampled parts of the song for his song "Oh I", which was originally intended for Tha Carter II but did not make the final track listing, and had the chorus sung by Reel with different lyrics.

In 2014, David Cassidy posted a download link to the song on David Cassidy's official web site. David originally recorded the track in 2011 with Craig J Snider.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 571. 
  2. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1969

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies
Billboard Hot 100 number one single (The Temptations version)
October 18, 1969 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley
Preceded by
"Oh, What a Night" by The Dells
Billboard's Best Selling Soul Singles number one single
October 4 - November 1, 1969
Succeeded by
"Baby, I'm for Real" by The Originals